In today’s episode, Terri of Prepped and Polished shares six traits of good writing to produce a winning SSAT essay.

Even though the essay is not scored, it gives schools an overall impression of your level of maturity and your power of self-expression. So, here are basically six traits of good writing. And if you incorporate these into your essay, you can’t help but produce a winning sample.

1. Ideas

You wanna brainstorm first before you start writing and kinda get a clear idea of what you’d like to write about. Bcause you wanna write meaningful details and examples, you wanna have fully-developed thoughts and definitely stick to the topic. That’s very important.

2. Organization

You should make an outline prior to writing the essay. You can use bullets. It’s just for you to see. But then you won’t get stuck in the middle and not know where you’re going with your essay, because you want a logical pattern of ideas, details, and strive for at least three paragraphs. You wanna have paragraphs.

3. Voice

Voice is really all about bringing the topic to life, and this is very important. Does it sound like you? Because I’ve read many essays where it just didn’t sound like a student I was tutoring. They were trying to make it too lofty, or throw in too many words that didn’t sound like themself. You wanna show your feelings and convictions, and it should be appropriate for the audience, topic and purpose.

4. Sentence fluency

Sentence fluency is all about rhythm and flow. Sentences should begin in different ways. Some should be short. Some should be long. It should be smooth.

5. Word choice

You know, you wanna try…you don’t wanna overdo it, but you do wanna put in some rich colorful vocabulary, minimal redundancy. In other words, don’t repeat words over and over, and to just be precise, interesting, and natural. But you don’t want it to be too informal. It is an essay.

6. Conventions

That’s the mechanics such as spelling, paragraphing, grammar usage, punctuation, use of capitals. All that’s important, and you wanna leave a few minutes at the end to proofread and correct your errors neatly. Presentation is important. It has to be legible.

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What was your biggest takeaway from this podcast about what you need to know about the SSAT writing sample? Do you have any questions for Terri and Alexis Avila?

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